A/N: I found this lost in my files of fanfics. Everything was done except the last few paragraphs, so I typed them up and decided to post the story. I think it's kind of cute :) I hope you like it!
"Carlos, you are gonna be in so much trouble."
"It wasn't my fault! It was… uh, Logan!"
"What? Me? You're the one who threw the pillow!"
"Yeah, but you ducked!"
Eight-year-old Kendall pushed his way in between his friends, holding out his hands. "Okay, guys, calm down. We can fix this." Despite his own encouraging words, Kendall was slightly nervous.
Mrs. Knight had given Kendall, James, Carlos and Logan clear instructions that they were to remain on the couch in front of their Mighty Ducks video until she finished mowing the lawn. Two-year-old Katie had just been put down for a nap, so Kendall's mother told her son to come outside and get her if Katie woke up and started crying.
Only about ten minutes into their video, Carlos complained of boredom. A video could never capture his attention for very long, especially since he had seen the Mighty Ducks tape dozens of times before.
Needless to say, Carlos's incessant moaning quickly became unbearable. Firstly, he couldn't sit still. He sat on his bottom. Then on his knees. Then on his head.
Next, he flopped off the couch and rolled around on the floor, his body tumbling over the feet of Kendall, James and Logan. James gave him a kick, which prompted a playful wrestling match. Carlos launched himself on top of James, who, in his laughter, collapsed over to the side, nearly squishing Logan into the cushions of the couch.
Kendall had to be the one to step forward and pry the two off each other, mainly for Logan's sake. "Carlos, we have to watch the TV," Kendall told his friend. "My mom said so."
"But I've seen it a billion times," he whined. "It's bor-ing!" He drawled out the last word as if to make his point.
"Let's do something else," chirped James. He stood atop the couch and began to bounce.
"We can't," Logan reminded, "unless you wanna get in trouble."
Carlos exchanged glances with James. They both frowned.
Kendall didn't want his friends to be bored when they were over at his house, but he also didn't want to disobey his mother. So, he thought of the perfect solution. "She said we had to stay on the couch."
The three boys looked at him expectantly.
"So as long as we stay on the couch, we can do this!" Kendall grabbed a pillow off the couch and hurled it at James. He caught it after it bounced off his face, earning giggles from Logan and Carlos. James tossed the pillow back at Kendall with all his might.
Carlos and Logan armed themselves with pillows as well, laughing as they whacked each other in the heads. Carlos hopped excitedly from cushion to cushion, Logan struggling to follow.
The boys' pillow fight suddenly took a turn for the worse.
Carlos whipped his pillow at Logan. However, the eight-year-old anticipated his move and ducked. The pillow soared through the air, crash landing on the other side of the living room.
The sound of glass shattering filled their ears.
Kendall gasped and immediately ceased thumping James in the arm with his pillow. He stared in horror at his mother's favorite vase, lying in pieces on the floor.
"Uh oh…" Carlos murmured.
The boys ultimately had no choice but to go against Mrs. Knight's rule and leave the couch. They stood over the shards of the beautiful, intricate blue vase that at one time belonged to Kendall's grandmother.
"We can fix this," Kendall repeated. "I mean, we can just glue it, right?"
Logan snapped his fingers. "Right! Where's your mom keep the superglue?"
Kendall's face fell. "Oh… Well, she keeps it high in the cupboard where I can't reach it, because one time I accidentally glued my hand to the table."
Carlos's eyes widened. He didn't want to get a scolding from Kendall's mother. "What do we do?" he cried.
Kendall put his hands on his head and paced the floor, thinking. He didn't have long. Just a moment later, there was a cry from down the hall. Katie was awake.
"Great," he muttered. "Okay, you guys go in my backpack and get a glue stick. Pick up the vase pieces and bring them to the kitchen." He felt guilty going against his mother's orders. She had specifically told him to come outside and get her if Katie woke up. But Kendall knew if he interrupted his mother's lawn mowing, she would walk in and see the broken vase and know he and his friends had abandoned their Mighty Ducks tape. Maybe he could fix it without her even knowing they had broken any rules at all.
Kendall hurried off down the hall to Katie's bedroom, pausing to gaze out the window. It appeared as though Mrs. Knight was about halfway finished mowing the backyard. Kendall knew she still had to do the front.
He pushed open the door to Katie's bedroom and flipped on the light. She stood in her crib, her short brown hair disheveled, face red, and tears pooling in her eyes. The ruckus in the living room must have disturbed her slumber.
"Aw, Katie, why'd you have to go and wake up?" Kendall grumbled, lifting his sister from her crib. She whimpered and sniffled, squeezing her little arms securely around her brother's neck. She was getting heavier to carry each day.
Kendall pondered the situation. Usually his mother comforted Katie after she woke in the middle of a nap. His green eyes scanned the room, eventually falling on a rocking chair. Sometimes Mrs. Knight would wrap Katie in a blanket and rock her in the chair, humming a song until she fell asleep. But Kendall knew he didn't have time for that. He had to get back to the kitchen to help his friends.
"You'll have to come help us, Katie," the blond decided.
Katie began to babble though her tears.
With his sister still in his arms, Kendall exited the bedroom and walked down the short hallway that led to the kitchen. Upon entering, he saw the large shards of glass had been transported to the countertop. Carlos and James, however, were hovering over Logan, who held his finger.
"What happened?" Kendall asked, pushing aside his friends to get a better look.
"Logan got cut on a piece of glass," James said, eyes wide.
The dark haired boy held up his index finger. A thin red line cut across the side, dripping down to the palm of his hand.
Kendall sighed. "We got Band-Aids in the bathroom. Here, James, you take Katie." He passed the child off to his reluctant friend. James held the girl out at arms length. He had never held a two-year-old before.
"What do I do with her?" he asked, making a face.
"Just watch her for a minute while I help Logan. Carlos, you got the glue stick?"
Carlos nodded vigorously, holding it up for Kendall to see.
"Good. You start gluing." He grabbed Logan's arm and began to drag him off towards the bathroom. "We'll be right back."
Logan appeared slightly pale as he took a seat on the lid of the toilet. Kendall stood on his tiptoes to reach the box of Band-Aids in the medicine cabinet. His mother always told him never to play with anything in there, or else he would be in big trouble. But at least this didn't count as playing - Kendall was helping out his friend.
Logan extended his finger as Kendall removed the thin paper wrappings from the bandage. He stuck out his tongue in his concentration, carefully covering the cut. It was a little lopsided, but for the most part looked okay.
"Aren't you gonna clean it with rubbing alcohol?" asked Logan. "That's what my mom does."
"I don't know what that is," said Kendall. He tossed the Band-Aid wrapper in the trash can behind him. "But my mom says alcohol is bad, and if I ever use it I'll be grounded until forever."
Logan raised his eyebrows. "Wow, that's a long time. My mom gives me alcohol a lot. Like that one time when Carlos pushed me off the swing set and I skinned my knee. She used a whole bunch. And it stung a lot, too, but she said that means it's working."
Kendall shrugged. "Does your finger still hurt?"
Logan narrowed his eyes, examining Kendall's work. "Kind of."
"Then kiss it to make it feel better," said Kendall.
Logan wrinkled his brow. "Huh? Me?"
"Well, yeah," Kendall said with a roll of his eyes, "I'm not gonna do it."
With a small shrug, Logan brought his injured finger up to his mouth and pressed it against his lips.
"Geez, Logan. Well, your mom can kiss it when you get home. C'mon, we gotta help James and Carlos." Kendall and Logan rushed out of the bathroom and to the kitchen once again. It had taken all of sixty seconds to fix Logan's finger, and all of sixty seconds for Kendall Knight to learn the hard way never to leave James and Carlos alone with sharp objects.
Katie sat harmlessly on a kitchen chair, looking more confused than upset. Carlos was sucking on a finger, examining his other hand carefully. James held up both his hands for Kendall and Logan to see the tiny nicks that lined his fingers and palms.
Kendall slapped his forehead and heaved a sigh. "I'll get the Band-Aids."
Logan, however, claimed he could do a better job treating Carlos and James's wounds, so Kendall allowed him to take the two boys to the bathroom to fix them up. Carlos's bottom lip quivered as he followed his friends.
Kendall sighed again and ran a hand through his hair. He nearly forgot Katie was in the room until she said, "Ouch."
Kendall nodded. "Yeah. Ouch." He focused his attention on the glass shards littering the counter top. Several pieces were blobbed together with thick adhesive from a purple glue stick. Kendall groaned. "You guys!" he shouted. "You're supposed to glue the pieces together where they fit, not just on top of each other!"
Carlos yelled back from down the hall. "Well I didn't know - OW!"
"Oops, sorry, Carlos," came Logan's voice.
Kendall frowned, turning back to the glass pieces. To his horror, Katie was reaching for a pointy fragment. "Katie, no!" scolded Kendall. He gave her hand a gentle slap. The shard was released and Katie pulled her hand away in surprise. The last thing Kendall needed was his innocent baby sister hurting herself due to his mistake.
Katie's eyes began to water as she held her tiny hand close to her chest.
"I'm sorry," said Kendall, "but you can't play with glass. You'd get cut like James and Logan and Carlos."
"Ouch," Katie whimpered, starting to cry.
Kendall cringed. "Aw, come on, Katie. I didn't mean to hurt your hand. It would've hurt a bunch more if you would have cut yourself. Here, let me see."
The little girl shook her head, looking frightened.
"You don't want me to kiss it better?"
Katie continued to shake her head. "Mama," she wailed.
Kendall's heartbeat quickened. He stood on his tiptoes and craned his neck, trying to get a look out the kitchen window. His mother walked past, pushing the lawn mower in front of her.
"Don't worry, I'll get her later. Right now I hafta fix this thing." Kendall lifted a triangular shaped shard and did his best to match it to another piece. He grabbed the glue stick, wincing every time Katie sniffled or made a distressing noise.
It was apparent to Kendall that the glue stick was not going to work. He had to apply a lot of the sticky substance to get the two pieces to hold together. Unappealing purple chunks oozed out through the cracks.
Kendall set the glass pieces on the countertop, using a hand to give the glue stick a twist. He watched as the pieces slowly separated.
Footsteps were heard barreling down the hall. James and Carlos appeared, both holding up their bandaged hands. "Logan fixed us," said Carlos. He had at least one Band-Aid across each finger.
James's hands looked similar. "Yeah. He should be a doctor or something."
"Kendall, you're out of Band-Aids," Logan announced upon entering the room.
"Mama," Katie cried, obviously still upset.
A worried look crossed Carlos's face as he stated the obvious. "Uh… She wants your mom."
"I know," replied Kendall. He maneuvered to the other side of the kitchen table, approaching his sister. "Katie, can I see your hand?"
"No," she sniveled, shrinking back in her seat.
"I'll give you a cookie."
She seemed to consider the offer, and Kendall took it as an inevitable yes. He reached out and grabbed his sister's hand, bringing it up to his lips. He pulled away and repeated the motion a second time. If he kissed her hand better twice, then it should really feel as good as new.
The gesture earned a small giggle from Katie. Kendall smiled in relief.
"This doesn't look too good," Logan commented, examining the vase shards on the counter.
"I know. We need better glue or something," said Kendall.
"We could use duck tape," James suggested. "My dad says duck tape fixes everything."
"It's duct tape," corrected Logan. He was ignored.
"Or we could chew some gum and stick it on the pieces!" Carlos said. "I did that to fix my helmet strap one time."
"Oh yeah," said James, "I remember that. Then it got stuck in your hair and your dad had to give you a hair cut right before school pictures."
"Focus," Kendall reminded. He walked to the countertops which lined one side of the kitchen.
"Right," the two boys replied in unison.
Logan's face lit up as a sudden idea came to him. "Me and my mom made glue one time!" he exclaimed. "You just put some flour into water and it makes paste. It's really sticky."
Kendall snapped his fingers before locating a cookie jar. "Good idea!"
James and Carlos looked offended. "What about my idea?" said James. "Duck tape would probably work better."
"Yeah. Or gum," added Carlos.
Kendall shrugged. "We can try them all and see what works best." He delivered a small chocolate chip cookie to Katie, who accepted it happily. He then turned back to the kitchen window. Mrs. Knight was just finishing mowing the backyard.
"We don't got too much time," said Kendall. "Logan, you start making the glue. The flour is in the cupboard above the sink. Carlos, go upstairs in my room. There's a pack of gum on my dresser. James, you go in the garage and find some duck tape."
The three boys nodded simultaneously, taking off in different directions.
Carlos bounded up the stairs to Kendall's room. He flung open the door with the Minnesota Wild poster tacked to the outside and located the pack of gum with ease; on top of the dresser where Kendall said it would be. Carlos popped several pieces in his mouth and began to chomp. When he made it back to the kitchen, Logan was busy pouring flour into a bowl. A white, powdery cloud billowed in the air. Logan coughed.
James came in through the door that led to the garage, holding up a roll of duct tape.
Kendall was supplying cookies to Katie - she continued to ask for her mom, but the treats would momentarily distract her.
Carlos promptly distributed sticks of gum to each of his friends. In no time, the pack was empty and he tossed it aside.
The boys turned to Logan. Flour coated the front of his shirt and shoes. The half-empty bag laid upside down on the floor where he had dropped it.
"Don't worry," said Kendall, "we'll clean it up later."
James pulled out a chair and sat on the other side of Kendall and Katie. He used his fingernail to peel off a strip of tape, then cut it with his teeth. "Carlos, will you hold two pieces together?"
Carlos nodded, grabbing two vase fragments that bore globs of glue. James carefully positioned the duct tape over the crack, using a finger to smooth it down. "There!" he declared, beaming proudly. "Good as new."
Kendall frowned and looked over at Carlos. The Latino was grinning and nodding his head in agreement.
"It's really… noticeable," Kendall said.
"Ouch," said Katie.
Her brother ignored her. "Logan, have you made the glue yet?"
"Almost," he replied, using a spoon to mash at the water and flour in the bowl. "It's kinda chunky."
"Let's try my idea!" Carlos exclaimed. He spit his gum into the palm of his hand. He held up two shards of glass and stuck the gum in the center. They bonded for a moment, then broke off.
"Great," muttered James, blowing a small bubble with his gum. "Now we chewed this for nothing."
Carlos looked upset by the fact that his plan didn't work. Kendall noticed and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Don't be sad, Carlos. It was a good idea. Maybe my gum just wasn't sticky enough."
The shorter boy shrugged. "Yeah, maybe."
"Everyone knows duck tape is way better than gum, anyway," teased James. He peeled off another strip of tape and pressed it to Carlos's arm.
"Nuh-uh, Kendall's gum just isn't sticky enough!" Carlos rebuked. He snatched the roll from James's hand, planting a long piece over James's mouth.
James's eyes widened in surprise. He removed the tape from his lips, wincing as he did so. He slapped the strip on Carlos's chest. "Hah." He stuck out his tongue.
Carlos returned the gesture. Then James held out his arms, as if challenging his friend to a fight.
Carlos screamed as he lunged forward, his body smacking into James's. Both boys collapsed to the floor, Carlos struggling to pin James down by the shoulders. He held the duct tape high over his head, planning to bind James to the floor.
Kendall rolled his eyes and stood from his chair, abandoning Katie at the kitchen table. He grabbed Carlos by the collar of his shirt and yanked him off of James, who was doing his best to fix his tousled hair.
"Hey," said James, pulling himself to his feet. "Where'd my gum go?" His mouth was empty. The three boys turned their bodies, eyes trained on the floor, searching for a small pink wad. The dispute that happened moments ago was quickly forgotten.
"Done!" Logan cried from the other side of the kitchen. Grinning proudly, he delivered the bowl of homemade paste to the table and set it down next to the broken vase.
Curious, Katie stood on her chair to get a better look. Her brown eyes sparkled in wonder at the mysterious substance. Logan didn't stop her as she dipped a finger into the bowl and brought it to her mouth. She grimaced and stuck out her tongue.
The four laughed at her expression. However, Kendall, Carlos and James immediately ceased their merriment when they looked up at Logan.
"What?" asked Logan, noticing them staring.
"Nothing…" the three replied in unison. Atop Logan's head sat James's piece of gum, which had apparently flew out of his mouth when Carlos tackled him, landing in Logan's hair.
"Oh," said Logan. "Okay. Well, do you want to try this glue out?"
Kendall tore his eyes away from his friend's head and nodded. He cautiously held up a pointy shard of glass. James and Carlos leaned closer as Logan slowly used his spoon to apply the paste to the edge of the fragment. Kendall then grabbed a second chunk and pressed it to the other.
"It works!" Logan said happily. He reached up to scratch his head. His smile vanished when his hand touched something wet and gooey. "Ew, what's this?" He gave it a tug.
"It's James's gum," Carlos blurted out. James smacked his arm.
"Ah! Get it out!" Logan cried, pulling harder at the offending substance. It only made matters worse. A large, pink clump matted the top of his head.
"We need scissors!" Carlos shouted.
"I'm not letting Carlos get near me with a scissors!" Logan shrieked. "Kendall, help!"
All the shouting began to upset the two-year-old on the chair. She began to whine.
"Uh oh," James said over Logan's yelling. "Katie's getting sad again."
Kendall huffed in frustration. "Then take her in the living room or something!"
"What? Why me?"
"Because I have to get the gum out of Logan's hair!" He turned to Carlos. "Can you handle gluing some more?"
Carlos nodded, grinning lopsidedly.
"Good." Kendall grabbed the sleeve of Logan's flour-covered shirt and dragged him to the other side of the kitchen. He rifled through a drawer until he located a pair of scissors.
Logan had frightened tears in his eyes. "I don't want my hair cut."
"But I have to," Kendall told his friend. "Or else it'll be stuck in there forever. Don't worry, I'll do a good job."
Logan covered his eyes with his hands as Kendall brought the blades closer to his head. Kendall tugged gently on a lock of hair before the soft snip of the scissors was heard. The pink piece of hair brushed against Logan's cheek as it fell to the kitchen floor, landing in the pile of spilled flour.
Meanwhile, James sat on the floor of the living room with Katie. He positioned himself so he could see into the kitchen incase his friends needed his help. Katie was sniffling and whimpering, pleading for her mother. She was always cranky after being disturbed from a nap.
One of Kendall's toy trucks laid on the floor, within James's reach. He passed the toy to Katie in hopes of cheering her up. "You wanna play with a truck?" he asked.
She shook her head, rubbing at her eyes.
He used one hand to move the toy across the carpet, trying to entice her. Katie secretly watched him through her fingers. "I want Mama," she murmured.
James made 'vroom' noises as he pushed the truck back and fourth. "Oh no, Katie, watch out!" he joked, crashing the truck into her foot.
Katie smiled for a half a second, then began to babble incoherently as her pout returned. James sighed.
Back in the kitchen, Carlos had made a complete mess of the counter. Thick globs of paste pooled around the bowl and the remains of the broken vase. He did his very best to concentrate applying the mixture to the shards of glass - a task that proved difficult with all the Band-Aids on his fingers.
Carlos finished successfully gluing two pieces together. He leaned back and smiled at his own work. His eyes once again fell on the bowl of paste. It resembled cake batter. And Carlos loved cake.
He took his spoon and dug in, bringing a handful of the viscous mixture to his mouth. He gulped. Not bad. He repeated the process several more times, ignoring the paste that dribbled down his chin.
"There!" declared Kendall from behind him. Carlos turned around in his chair. Logan stood like a statue, eyes glassy with tears. A pile of black hair was on the ground at his feet.
"It looks good," Carlos complemented. The short, choppy spikes were a nice look for Logan.
"Really?" he sniffled, looking up.
Carlos and Kendall both nodded.
"How's the vase coming along?" asked Kendall, attention back on the original problem.
Logan noticed the paste on Carlos's face. "Ew, did you eat some?"
The moment the words were spoken, Carlos placed a hand on his stomach. It gurgled and churned. A wave of nausea crashed over him.
"… Are you okay?" wondered Kendall.
The two boys jumped back as Carlos suddenly leaned forward and vomited. His stomach heaved a second time, causing Kendall and Logan to grimace.
James heard the noise and rushed into the room, carrying Katie awkwardly in his arms. "What was that?"
"Carlos puked," answered Kendall, pointing to the mess on the floor.
Carlos straightened his posture and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "Guys. Don't eat the paste."
Logan rolled his eyes. "Why would you eat that?"
"It looked yummy," Carlos said with a shrug. He spat on the floor.
"You're stupid," Logan muttered.
Carlos gaped at him. "No, you're stupid!"
Kendall stepped between the two, sensing an argument. "Guys, let's just get back to gluing -"
"I'm not stupid," said Logan, pointing a finger at Carlos. "I got all the problems right on my math test."
"Yeah, well I only got twelve wrong on my math test!"
"There was only fifteen questions, dummy."
"Don't call me a dummy!" shouted Carlos. In his anger, he shoved his hand in the bowl of paste and flung a fistful at Logan. The boy with the new haircut gasped as the paste splattered across his face.
Logan's face flushed red in anger and embarrassment. He copied Carlos, sticking both hands into the bowl. He flung one paste-covered hand at Carlos, the other at James. A few drops splashed on Katie, causing her to giggle.
James set Katie on the chair, ignoring shouts of protest from Kendall. He snatched the whole bowl of paste from the counter and dove forward. Carlos let out a small cry as the entire bowl was smacked on top of his head.
And that was when all chaos broke lose.
Carlos removed the bowl from his head, whipping it across the room. He cleared away the paste from his eyes before wiping some of the sticky mixture off his face and began to fling it at each of his friends, including Kendall.
Katie shrieked with laughter as stray drops of paste dotted her pajamas and hair.
Carlos and Logan even started to laugh as the paste fight continued. Kendall mostly stood off to the side, unable to hide a grin as he watched his three friends continue to battle.
"What. Is. Going. On?"
The four boys instantly froze at the sound of Mrs. Knight's voice. She stood at the kitchen doorway in a tank top, pair of shorts and work boots, her hands on her hips and her auburn hair pulled back in a low ponytail. Kendall inwardly scolded himself for not remembering to keep watch.
The boys watched as Kendall's mother's wide eyes traveled across the nearly unrecognizable kitchen counter, which was dripping paste to the floor below. The broken pieces of the vase were nearly submerged in the mess. Then Mrs. Knight's gaze scanned the floor, which was not only dotted in tiny white footprints, but covered in strips of duct tape, Carlos's vomit, and locks of Logan's hair. She gasped, mouth hanging open.
Four paralyzed bodies, nearly white with the amount of paste and flour on their skin and clothes, stood with fearful expressions, well aware that they had just been caught.
"Well?" demanded Mrs. Knight, tapping her foot.
Kendall immediately began to explain. "We were - we were - we were…"
"Slow down, sweetie, I can't understand you."
Kendall tried again, pointing to the living room. "We were watching Mighty Ducks and then we got bored so we had a tiny pillow fight only then we accidentally broked your vase, and Katie heard it and woke up so we brought her in the kitchen with us to help fix it."
"So then," said Logan, "we tried to use a glue stick to stick the pieces together so you wouldn't get mad, but it didn't work and then I got a cut on my finger so Kendall helped me but he didn't use alcohol so now I'll probably get an infection."
"Then me and Carlos got some cuts too," James explained, holding up his bandaged hands. "But Logan helped us and he did better than Kendall did."
"And then we had to find another way to make the vase stick together so James got duck tape and Logan made glue with flowers and I chewed gum," said Carlos.
"He means with flour," Logan corrected.
Mrs. Knight raised her eyebrows.
"So then - so then - so then…!"
"Kendall," said Mrs. Knight.
"So then I gave Logan a haircut because James spit his gum on Logan's head on accident, so while I did that, James had to watch Katie who was sad and then happy when I gave her a cookie, and so then, um, we tried to fix the vase again but it didn't work, and Carlos and James fought with duck tape and then Carlos puked 'cause he ate the paste, not exactly in that order, but then we started throwing paste at each other which was kind of on accident but not really."
"We're sorry," James, Carlos and Logan said together.
"Really sorry," said Kendall.
All four boys dropped their heads in shame. They stared at their feet and tensed, ready for a vicious reprimanding by Mrs. Knight. When seconds passed and the only noise that was made was from Katie saying, "Mama!" the boys slowly opened an eye.
Mrs. Knight picked up her daughter from the kitchen chair, ignoring the paste that speckled Katie's pink pajamas. Katie put her arms around her mother's neck and Mrs. Knight walked out of the room in silence.
The boys exchanged glances. They quietly crept to the threshold of the kitchen and the hall, peeking their heads around the corner. With Katie on her hip, Mrs. Knight entered the bathroom. The four listened intently. They could hear the rattling of an aspirin bottle, accompanied by the running of the sink.
Still poking their heads around the corner, Kendall, James, Carlos and Logan watched as Mrs. Knight walked out of the bathroom and entered Katie's room. She closed the door.
Kendall slowly took a step forward, proceeding with caution into the hall. The boys stepped on each others' heels as they followed closely behind Kendall.
They halted in front of the bedroom door. Kendall pressed his ear to the wood and could hear soft humming on the other side.
Kendall looked to each of his friends before all four wordlessly plopped down on the floor, sitting cross-legged and forgetting about the paste still dripping from their clothes and onto the carpet.
They waited quietly. Many minutes passed as they stared at the closed door to Katie's room.
Finally, the door knob twisted and Mrs. Knight stepped out. She closed the door slowly, trying to do it with as little noise as possible.
She turned when Logan tugged on her shirt. "Aren't you gonna yell at us?" he asked.
Mrs. Knight put her hands on her hips again. Only this time, her face didn't look so angry. In fact, one corner of her mouth was raised just a tiny bit more than the other, showing off a hint of a smile. She sighed. "No, I'm not going to yell at you."
Kendall blinked in surprise. "But we broked your rules."
"And your vase," added Carlos.
"And now the kitchen is all messy," said James.
When Mrs. Knight lowered herself to the floor to reach the boys' level, her smile was more prominent. "But you know what? You boys always try to right your wrongs." She looked over at Logan. "You helped James and Carlos bandage their fingers." Using her hand to wipe away some paste, Mrs. Knight leaned forward and planted a kiss on Logan's temple.
"And James," she said, kissing his forehead, "you watched Katie while Kendall was giving Logan a… haircut?" She laughed the last word, then turned back to Logan and ruffled his hair. "Which looks great, by the way."
Logan and James both giggled.
"What about me?" said Carlos, bouncing up and down as he grinned ear-to-ear.
"Well, Carlos, it sounded to me like you worked really hard chomping all that gum to try to get the vase pieces to stick together."
"Yeah," said Carlos. "Only Kendall's gum wasn't sticky enough."
She chuckled and cleared away a spot to kiss his cheek. Then Mrs. Knight looked to Kendall, and her smile became more tender. "And I'm sure you kept everyone in line, huh?"
Kendall shrugged, avoiding her eyes. "I tried to," he said sheepishly.
Mrs. Knight put her hand under his chin and titled it up. "Honey, look at me." Kendall slowly did as he was told, and she kissed his head. "I love you."
Kendall blushed. "Yeah, yeah, you too."
Mrs. Knight leaned back and looked each boy in the eye, tone suddenly becoming a little more stern. "Now what have you learned from this?"
"Don't break vases?" Logan guessed.
"Don't touch pointy glass," said James, wiggling his fingers.
"Don't eat the paste," Carlos said, rubbing a hand over his stomach.
Kendall pondered hard. "Be honest!"
Mrs. Knight nodded. "Next time you boys get yourself into trouble, I want you to come to me right away, understand?"
Logan, Carlos and James all nodded, but Kendall remained still. "But, Mom, what if we can fix it?" he asked.
"Well," she said with a sigh, "I suppose sometimes you will be able to fix it. But the thing with you four is you usually end up getting into more trouble as you try to get out of it. But even so, I can't punish you guys for that."
"So you're not going to yell?" Logan asked again for clarity.
Mrs. Knight laughed. "No, sweetheart, I'm not going to yell." She stood, and the four boys copied her action. "But, I am going to go into the kitchen and pick up the glass, and then you boys are going to start cleaning."
They all moaned.
"And then," Mrs. Knight continued, "you are going to take a bath."
They moaned again.
Then Kendall sighed. "It's okay, Mom. We won't get into trouble no more."
"Right!" the other eight-year-olds said with a nod.
Mrs. Knight snickered. "Somehow I have a feeling that as you boys get older, you're going to be costing me many more bottles of aspirin." She put her hands behind her boys and began to guide them down the hall. "Now come on. We have a kitchen to clean."